Lake Ontario ‘UFO’.

When Is a UFO Not a UFO?

MUFON Case file: 43681

I chanced upon this case whilst researching for another, and found it very intriguing. I set about analysing the image above to determine the truth of it. The location where the photo was taken is currently undergoing a UFO flap with sightings almost on a daily basis.  What is more, there has been a recent upsurge in sightings of rectangular UFOs worldwide, and it is not uncommon to witness them over, large bodies of water and also in the midst of storms. What I discovered about this particular event was very interesting, and is a timely lesson on the nature of evidence and inference. All is not as it seems.

lake ufo 1


Witness Statement

(edited for brevity)

We were watching a line of storms move across the lake. Some of the storms were producing waterspouts and I wanted to get pictures of them [see image below].

It was about 8 am and I took my camera and went outside. I saw what I thought was a ship. We don’t see ships that large as we are not on the shipping lanes. I thought lake ufo2perhaps the ship was there because it was trying to avoid the storms, but it eventually turned and went into the worst of them. I took pictures of it and tried to get an angle that would show the storms in background. I just thought it would make a great picture. When I went back in my husband asked me if I got pictures of the ship, and remarked on how amazing it was on how the sunlight reflected on it. The light seemed to be reflecting on all sides. It was just glowing. I thought it was strange the way it looked and when I looked at the pictures on my computer they really looked strange. We were facing north and sun would be on our right. The whole object was illuminated and showed  no signs of being effected by the rough water or storms. It also looked very square, which didn’t make sense for a ship or barge. It was travelling east-north east and then turned north and just disappeared. Maybe it got just too far away. I am not sure. I hope I am not wasting your time and will include photos that I can. Thank you …

Image Analysis.

By converting the original close up image to negative I was able to remove the glare from the object, and by doing so could discern more detail. As you can see from thisxxxxxxx9-24-12-WOLCOTT-NEW-YORK-MUFON-43681-PIC-1 image the object appears structured and is rectangular in shape. You will also note that it appears to be hovering  just above the water. Note also the faint central line intersecting the rectangle. At this point I recalled the wintnesses’ statement of how the object glowed. An idea began to formulate in my mind. Could this be a mirage of some kind?

by Jeanette Cain

What is a mirage? A mirage is a misleading appearance. Most mirages occur on the seas or in the deserts. What will cause a mirage? A reflection. What causes reflection? Light. We seldom consider light as anything magical or wonderful, but light allows us the ability to see many good things and, often, many bad things.

Mirages, also called illusions, are caused by a reflection of some distance object which allows you to think that it is close by. In physics, it is known as an optical illusion. The more common type of mirage is called inferior mirage. It happens when a refraction of light passes through the atmosphere layers with varying qualities. Distance objects may seem to be raised above or below their normal locality. These objects may be seen as irregular and fantastic shapes.

Superior mirages are spectacular events, but much less common than the inferior mirage. These occur mainly over the horizon of the sea when distant objects are sketched, or drawn, upside down n the sky. Sometimes there is an erect image of the same object which will be above the upside-down image. This is characteristic of cold areas and conditions with a strong change of temperature where the warmer layers of air rise above the cooler layers. This involves a complicated action of wave fronts of light as the pass through the layers.

 Image of superior mirage.

superior mirage

I began to wonder what kind of vessels plied the lake waters and came across a particular type of barge, which I strongly suspected was the most likely candidate for the mirage (see inset).

lake barge insert

Bear in mind that a mirage is not always an exact duplicate of what is creating it. They are invariably distorted. You will recall my mentioning that the image appears to be hovering just above the water line. This is a common factor in many mirages, such as the one below.

An Iceberg in the Sky!


Evidence-based Conclusion:   The image is most likely a ‘Superior’ mirage of a lake barge reflected against the dark background of the storm. The intersecting white line across the barge’s hull may well be the boundary line between the barge itself and its ‘superior’ image.

Update:   Having sent this case to the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomenon (ASSAP), I’m pleased to announce that their independent study has confirmed my conclusion that the object is indeed a mirage.

© David Calvert 2012

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Gill Finlayson Orbs.

Mind Over Matter

David Calvert.

A Brief History.

edinburgh_st_andrews_1St. Andrew’s and St. George’s Church, Scotland, was the setting, in 1843, for one of the most significant events in 19th-century Scotland – the ‘Disruption’.  Fuelled by increasing concern and resentment about the Civil Courts’ infringements on the liberties of the Church of Scotland, around one third of he Ministers present at the annual General Assembly walked out, cheered by onlookers outside, and constituted the Free Church of Scotland. (Wiki).

Gill Finlayson’s (edited) post to Ghosts, Hauntings and the Paranormal Group.

‘Just wanted an opinion or two on this photograph which was taken in St. Andew’s & St. George’s Church, George Street, Edinburgh – a beautiful Georgian church with a pervasive atmosphere of chaos.

I am rather keen about taking pics of doors so, seeing this open box pew, I snapped a photo with a regular Nikon Coolpix digital camera. Obviously, the automatic flash activated.  I was wearing a coat without cuffs, and was gloveless.’

Image Analysis.

church orbs

Red arrow notations read:

‘This brightly lit amorphous blob may be the result of a cluster of dust particles being in extreme proximity to the flash when it was triggered. The resultant reflection would therefore be very much brighter, ‘washing out their circular appearance, making it appear as a single form due to the albedo effect.’

“Albedo effect”

The fraction of incident electromagnetic radiation reflected by a surface.

Triple line text reads:

‘Small dust particles near to the lens, showing up as individual blurred circles. Probable cause of dust is the carpet.’

dust orbs

Dust orbs are relatively common features in images and are often mistaken as balls of light or some other paranormal phenomenon such as ghosts and UFOs. If one looks closely at the fainter images in the above selection you can make out internal features to some of them. But why do they always appear to be circular? The reason for this is down to the camera.

In optics, a circle of confusion is an optical spot caused by a cone of light rays from a lens not coming to a perfect focus when imaging a point source. It is also known as disk of confusion, circle of indistinctness, blur circle, or blur spot.

Defocused object points are imaged as blur spots rather than points; the greater the distance an object is from the plane of focus, the greater the size of the blur spot. Such a blur spot has the same shape as the lens aperture, but for simplicity, is usually treated as if it were circular. The circles seen in Gill’s photo fit the criteria for dust particles.

Conclusion: Camera artefacts.

Whilst my interpretation would stand up to the rigours of scientific scrutiny, this is not the last word on this subject. Karen Han of Ghosts, Hauntings, and the Paranormal came up with an elegant summary, managing to create an harmonious relationship between science, psychology, and spirituality. Here are her thoughts on the matter:

‘I tend to take a more ‘Jungian’ perspective, and I think it is related to the Collective Unconsciousness. ” Apparitions/visions” are produced by the psyche or subconscious; that is, they can’t announce their presence unless they “manifest” in the physical realm through visual symbols in our environment, with the aid of suggestion, or in your [Gill’s] case, through “Tribal Memory”. The dust particles (manifesting as orbs), in a sense, are helping to make the presence of your ancestors known; that is, it doesn’t negate the fact that this was a significant personal experience a journey to find the soul, so to speak.’

Charles Finlayson, Gill’s grandfather, was married in the 1850s in the very same church where the photo was taken, hence the Jungian ‘Tribal Memory’ allusion  made by Karen.

© David Calvert 2012

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The Blue Ridge Parkway Ghost.

The Camping Spirit.

blue ridge ghost1

Marti Finizio’s Tesitmony.

Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. He took this picture with his iPhone and uploaded it to Facebook. A couple of weeks after returning home, a Facebook friend noticed the little girl standing behind his friends, on the left side. He emailed me this picture directly from his iPhone, the same one that took the picture.

You can see the corner of the tent through the little girl and the pixelation is the same throughout the picture.”



My initial notes concerning the image are as follows: 

‘The girl’s left arm appears to terminate just below the elbow (might this be from a cropped image?)’.

The eyes appear reminscent of  a ”Grey” alien, rather than human. They hav a V configuration and the mouth seems anatomically disproportionate to them. This figure reminds me of a chil’s doll – which gives me grounds for suspicion.’

Evidenced-Based Conclusion.

Along with this image came the statement that the pixelation is ‘the same throughout the picture.’ However, on closer examination, this wasn’t the case – suggesting the image had been photoshopped onto the original.

Following a fortuitous meeting with a friend, Karen Han of  Ghosts, Hauntings and the Paranormal contacted me and informed me that she may have found the source for the little girl, adding, “It’s a real girl after all!”

She had run into an old friend, Mary Walhstrom, from the Central Paranormal Research Society (Cprs) in Illinois, whose FB profile pick matches that of the ‘ghost girl’. Mary, apparently,  had modified a photo from a costume website for the image on her FB profile wall. Karen conjectured that the North Carolina ghost photo may have been lifted from the same costume website and photshopped onto the original image.

blue ridge ghost2Using this profile pic as a comparison, It was easy to determine that this was the picture used to perpetrate the hoax – right down to the missing portion of the left arm.

© David Calvert 2011


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